Enrique Chagoya. Hand of Power
Known for printmaking and painting, Enrique Chagoya works in the tradition of satirical political cartoons. Bringing together pop culture icons and religious symbols, his works function as political commentary, addressing issues of US colonialism. Powerful Hand (Mano Poderosa) (1992) calls upon the Catholic icon of the mano poderosa—a hand depicted with the figures of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and three saints at its fingertips—to evoke the oppressive power of the United States in the Gulf War. The root of Chagoya’s powerful hand bears Batman’s emblem, a distinct identification with American pop culture, bringing to mind the imposition of such corporate and cultural icons on nonindustrialized countries.1 The hand gushes oil into a sea of blood also being fed by a smaller hand in the lower left corner. (Chagoya frequently uses the configuration of large with small figures in his works.) American militarism, art, capitalism, consumerism, and media represented at the fingertips suggest the country’s complicity in bloodshed for oil.
Enrique Chagoya, “Interview by Moira Roth,” in Enrique Chagoya: When Paradise Arrived (New York: Alternative Museum, 1989), 9. ↩︎